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Thread: Are neonicotinoid pesticides responsible for the demise of bees and other wildlife?

  1. #11

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    I think the bee forage must have been fantastic in the 1920's judging by colony density in some apiaries from books of that time.
    Aberdeen beekeeping association was huge, bigger than the whole SBA now
    Honey yields were equally impressive

    Perhaps those days will return but it's unlikely

    It's not that farmers are less bee friendly than in the halcyon days of beekeeping.
    It's that the standard mixed arable farming used in the 1940's suited the bees better
    In fact pesticides used at that time could have devastating effects on the environment and bees.

    Subsidies are responsible for things like oil seed rape and profit margins for potatoes and grain
    Hence the farms around me rotate those 3 crops endlessly.
    All these have applications of fungicide, pesticide, or seed dressings, but on the whole they are less environmentally damaging and safer for bees

  2. #12
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    I think the bee forage must have been fantastic in the 1920's judging by colony density in some apiaries from books of that time.

    Perhaps those days will return but it's unlikely

    It's not that farmers are less bee friendly than in the halcyon days of beekeeping.
    It's that the standard mixed arable farming used in the 1940's suited the bees better
    I seem to remember reading -from a couple of different sources one of which may have been Sims that those halcyon days of British beekeeping (if they truly were such) during the late twenties and thirties were, to a large degree, the result of the collapsing economy resulting in small farms and larger small-holdings being abandoned and effectively being allowed to run wild.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone ranger View Post
    In fact pesticides used at that time could have devastating effects on the environment and bees.
    Can I recommend that anyone who enjoys reading books about beekeeping should get themselves a copy (I believe there's now a reprint/print on demand copy available) of 'Bees Are My Business' by Harry Whitcombe. Other than being a great story in it's own right it has an interesting chapter on his fight with (from memory) the large scale tomato growers who were detroying colonies by the hundred with their insecticides. -There's also a nice piece about his efforts to convince many growers about the benefit of using bees for polination; where they'd previously looked upon bees collecting pollen and nectar as being detrimental to their crops. Dated, but still a good read.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post

    Lindsay, umm, thanks for posting! Maybe you could now do the people of Orkney a favour and link on the Orkney Yahoo site to the assessment here of the Mason/Thomas fantasy? You can even continue to sit on the fence if you like!
    To be quite honest Gavin Iím not really bothered about neonicotinoids. As far as the environment is concerned I like to keep things simple. If itís bug life and it canít be squashed or swotted I will spray it. If itís plant life and it canít be cut with a lawnmower or strimmed I will spray it. I like nothing better than being let loose with Glyphosate although nowadays itís under the watchful eye of my other half (I was a bit to enthusiastic in the past).
    A retired chemist once told me how he used to use cyanide to kill wasps. Iím not advocating that we go back to those days.
    As long as it does what it says on the tin then I will happily use modern pesticides and herbicides.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    In fact pesticides used at that time could have devastating effects on the environment and bees.
    Mmm, the halcyon days of DDT, derris and home-made concoctions of rhubarb leaves and cigarette ends.

    Things are quite expensive these days, and if this site is anything to go by, it looks as if some people still use some of these home-made biocides. It's because they're 'natural', even though using unregulated, unlicensed, untested and un-measured home-made stuff is, apparently, against the rules.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindsay s View Post
    To be quite honest Gavin Iím not really bothered about neonicotinoids. As far as the environment is concerned I like to keep things simple. If itís bug life and it canít be squashed or swotted I will spray it. If itís plant life and it canít be cut with a lawnmower or strimmed I will spray it. I like nothing better than being let loose with Glyphosate although nowadays itís under the watchful eye of my other half (I was a bit to enthusiastic in the past).
    A retired chemist once told me how he used to use cyanide to kill wasps. Iím not advocating that we go back to those days.
    As long as it does what it says on the tin then I will happily use modern pesticides and herbicides.
    It's a good job you're mostly confined to your garden, Lindsay. The environment, whether you like it or not, is not simple; and no label on a tin is going to explain that to you.You sound proud of your limited perspective.Are you really?

  6. #16
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnthefarmer View Post
    You sound proud of your limited perspective.Are you really?
    Isn't it telling that Lindsay has waited all this time to reveal his own philosophy in his garden? Times have changed when folk behaving in the way the majority of gardeners do are inhibited from talking about it - then criticised like this.

    In defence of Lindsay, his perspective isn't limited, it is just different. In fact it is mainstream. Too bad if you and Doris don't like it, John. Get over it, move on, and if you are personally active in the Orkney beekeepers group, leave it at home. I'm also going to ask you to leave at home any more critical comments directed at Lindsay that you might think of bringing to SBAi. This isn't the place for it and I doubt that anywhere is.

  7. #17

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    [QUOTE=I'm also going to ask you to leave at home any more critical comments directed at Lindsay that you might think of bringing to SBAi. This isn't the place for it and I doubt that anywhere is.[/QUOTE]

    Gavin, given the language used on the forum when contrary points of view are debated John's comments above are positively mild mannered.


    What exactly constitutes a Ďcritical commentí that is unsatisfactory?

  8. #18
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Lindsay has conspicuously avoided getting drawn in to these disputes until now. I read his post at frustration with the aggressively expressed view dominating the output from Orkney. The truth is that they both have the right - legal and moral - to manage their land in the way they wish.

    John's reply could have been the start of a nasty exchange between people from one small community and one even smaller beekeeping community. I'm trying to prevent that. I'm reacting to someone telling a forum member who avoids conflict and has stayed outside these debates that he seems proud of his limited perspective. There is nothing limited about Lindsay's perspective, it is just different from John's.

    If you have issues with the way I reacted to the blog by Mason and Thomas, I stand by my comments that they are bonkers and the content is fantasy. There is no way that is a sensible message to give people on bees and beekeeping. I'm proud of the relatively informed debate on here, and when someone (Doris, in this case) is so enthusiastic about something so flawed, I'm going to challenge that strongly. When that someone has accused me personally of being paid for my interventions and not properly apologised for that, sprayed spam all over the forum, and taken her accusations to other bee fora internationally, I will not be holding back.

  9. #19

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    Hi guy's let's not be too grumpy with one another
    After all we want to read different viewpoints or we wouldn't come to the forum.
    Were not here for a slugfest are we

    Here's something I clipped from elsewhere it was posted in 2009

    We are trying to convert a farm in West Wales/Carmarthen, to be permaculture/organic and would love to keep bees – is there somewhere in our area we can learn more? Are varroa or CCD a problem here?

    The poster was on a site concerned with Organic Beekeeping, specifically the Warre hive, which I have been reading about since Nellie mentioned under supering or nadiring I think its called, sorry about the spelling
    (the spellchecker suggested "marinading" ) can't see that working myself

    Now what is the greater threat, someone growing oil seed rape or the next door beekeeper setting up half a dozen warre hives without any idea of bee diseases (other than what they read in the papers about varroa and CCD) and believing that the solution to bee disease is a type of hive,

    They're in your back yard Nellie flush them out Lol!

    Strangely no-one on that site suggested joining a local association or reading a normal bee book plenty suggestions for 17th and 18th century ones though
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 15-07-2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: commas ,,

  10. #20
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    I've been a mostly-organic gardener all my life but have on occasions resorted to glyphosate and am currently using a 'normal' tomato feed in my home-made (organic) growbags because there was nothing else available at the ironmongers and the comfrey has vanished (deer?). I use slug pellets in the greenhouse because otherwise I'd lose everything in there. I don't use pesticides, mostly because I don't have the time or feel the need to do so and am quite happy to buy veg if a crop fails. Commercial growers don't have this luxury; they need to protect their livelihood. If as a family we ate only organically-produced food our diet would be (a) very restricted (b) limited in quantity due to the expense. Yes, it would be lovely to get back to Eden, with no pests or diseases and no thorns and thistles either (and no midges ... bliss!), but the way's been barred since Adam and Eve blew it and we poor humans have to muddle along as best we can in the meantime. If that includes GM crops and neonics, in the absence of anything better, so be it.

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